Mental Health and Psychopathology

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Mental Health and Psychopathology

Mental Health

Maximum functioning of Body, Mind and Soul is called Mental Health.

Abnormal Psychology:

The scientific study of abnormal behaviour in an effort to describe, predict, explain and change the abnormal pattern of functioning. Abnormal behaviour can also be described through 4 D’s:

    1. Deviance= Different, Extreme, Unusual, or Bizarre.
    2. Distress= Unpleasant and upsetting to the person.
    3. Dysfunction= Interfering with the person’s ability to conduct daily activities in a constructive way.
    4. Dangerous= Harmful to oneself or to others.


It is primarily a legal term. It is mainly concerned with judgment. E.g., an insane person cannot judge between right and wrong and dangerous and benevolent objects. (Obscene= Lunacy & Madness)


It is a Psychological or Behavioral abnormality. It is typically a medical term, which assumes that the Psychological or Behavioral abnormality is caused by a psychic germ or a somatic illness is caused by some biological infestation.


It is slightly a neutral term, which indicates the psychological or behavioural disorders are caused by biological, psychological, behavioural, and cognitive or any other problems.


A general term for any aberrant or maladaptive pattern of behaviour that is sufficiently severe to warrant the attention of counsellors or therapists.


It is a very narrow term, in the sense that it only represents the condition in which emotional reactions are inappropriate for the situation presented.


It is a pattern of abnormal behaviour, emotion or thought that significantly interferes with an individual’s adaptation to important life’s demands and often causes distress in the individual or in others.


The scientific study of mental disorders. The term also refers to a scientific domain that includes the research work, symptoms, issues, explanation and treatment of these mental disorders.


Significant deviation from the commonly accepted pattern of the behaviour, emotion or thought.

Characteristics of a Good Clinical Classification System

  1. Provides information about the cause(s) of a condition.
  2. Provides a common language for communication among clinicians and researchers.
  3. Enable clinicians to give patients and their families a short and long term outlook.
  4. Indicates possible treatment.
  5. Suggests paths to prevention.

Some Milestones in the History of attempts to Classify Maladaptive Behavior

1796 Edinburgh physician William Cullen attempts to classify mental disorders using an approach based

on biologist/s system for classifying plants and animals.

1879 English psychiatrist William Maudsley suggests classifying mental disorders in terms of identifiable symptoms.
1883 German Psychiatrist Emil Kraepelin publishes the first edition of an influential textbook that describes and

classifies several mental disorders.

1957 A 6th edition of the International Classification of Diseases, Injuries, and Causes of Death is

published and includes for the first time a section devoted to mental disorders.

1980 The 3rd edition of American Psychiatrist Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual is published.

It builds on Maudsley’s emphasis on the importance of observable symptoms, and charts the course for current widely used classification systems.

Some terms used in discussions of Clinical Cases

Diagnosis The conclusion reached concerning the nature of the patient’s problem, based on clinical observation.
Classification Placing a clinical condition into a category based on shared characteristics.
Syndrome A group of signs and symptoms that together indicate or describe a disorder.
Multiaxial system A classification system that has multiple dimension.
Etiology The cause(s) or origin(s) of a condition.

Four Contributions of Diagnosis and Classification

  1. The Complexity of Clinical phenomenon is reduced, leading to better treatment planning.
  2. Communication between clinicians is facilitating (they are more likely to understand each other).
  3. The likely course and outcome of a clinical condition can be more confidentially predicted.
  4. Clues are provided with regard to the condition’s cause.

Comparing the Models

Biological Model

Psychodynamic Model

Behavioural Model

Cognitive Model

Humanistic Model

Existential Model

Cause of dysfunction

Biological Malfunction

Underlying conflicts

Maladaptive learning

Maladaptive thinking


Avoidance of responsibility

Research Support







Consumer designation





Patient or client

Patient or client

Therapist role







Key therapist techniques

Biological intervention

Free association and interpretation





Therapy goal

Biological repair

Broad Psychological change

Functional behaviours

Adaptive thinking


Authentic life

Credited: Sheeraz Ilyas Shaikh


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